Critical praise rained on the Coen brothers in 2008 for their work in No Country for Old Men. From creating an unforgettable antagonist to redefining a genre, No Country for Old Men left its impression on audiences and critics alike. But I think one of the biggest impression the film left can also be considered a huge gamble. Many passable movies today have the tendency to spoon-feed exposition through either uninspired dialog (Star Wars: Episode I) or plot devices (action scenes in the Transformers series).
No Country for Old Men takes the gamble of being a smart movie. Not smart in the sense that you need an impressive IQ or understand quantum physics to appreciate the movie. But smart in the sense that the movie is layered and meaning is found through attention to detail. The Coen brothers find success with No Country for Old Men by whole heartily trusting the audience. Continue reading
Did you know that Alaska is the largest state of the United States? Or that Alaska is the only state name that can be typed on only one row of keys? Crazy to think, but true. More often than not, Alaska in cinema is represented as ambiguous and isolated from the rest of the world. And if those fun facts didn’t do it, think John Carpenter’s terrifying Thing or the movie and television series Fargo and the countless aliens that converge in Alaska to commit their abductions.
Alaska is the perfect setting to convey a mysterious and foreboding story. Hold the Dark (2018) is no different. Netflix’s newest drama takes place in desolate and cold Alaska. But does it do anything new and worthwhile in good ol’ Alaska? Or does it settle for safety in this familiar space? Continue reading
Child acting in film is a different beast compared to its adult counterpart. Both instances already require direction and, in some cases, a lot of patience. The impressionable minds of child actors sometimes become an extra layer that interferes with the creative process. So to have a eight year old star in the dramatic thriller RoomI knew I was in for a ride. With a particularly heavy and emotional subject matter, would Roomsucceed or would the leading child become a distraction?
Room tells the story of a Joy, a woman who was kidnapped as a teenager and has been held captive in a room. The movie opens up on the eve of her son’s fifth birthday. The premise of the movie explores the idea of raising a child from birth in the confides of a 10×10 room. Room excels at setting up this plot “what if?” and executes it well with attention to the smallest of details. Continue reading
Today it is almost impossible to go about without technology readily by our side. From smart phones to laptops and watches that now do more than just tell time, we are tied to technology one way or another. We have established relationships of entertainment, work and even a relationship of dependency with these technologies. In Spike Jonze’s Her (2013) this relationship with technology is explored in terms of actual affection and love.
Director Spike Jonze previously directed the children’s book adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are in 2009. Her stars Joaquin Phoenix as the lonely Theodore and the voice of Scarlett Johansson as Samantha, the operating system Theodore falls in love with. Additional actors that lend their voices include Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig and Spike Jonze himself as the foul mouthed alien boy. Continue reading
Horror is alive, and grotesque, in David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows. The movie is a nostalgic call back to 70s and 80s horror movies where no teenage couple is safe from the clutches of death. The haunting score and eerie atmosphere seamlessly move the horror and characters to their doom (a very John Carpenter vibe). But It Follows ups the ante by creating a monster that feels so much more personal and specific to its victim.
It Follows is director David Robert Mitchell’s breakout film who premiered it at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2014. It stars Maika Monroe as the cursed Jay Height and Lili Sepe as her sister Kelly Height. It also stars Keir Glichirst who also pays a leading role in the Netflix original Atypical (2017). Continue reading